By Nyasha N Mukapiko
A resolution to sell residential stand number 2949 in the lush suburb of Glen Lorne at concessional rate of 40% to Harare Metropolitan Province Minister Miriam Chikukwa crumbled last week on Thursday after a heated debate from city fathers.
According to the minutes dated 22nd of August 2016, tabled during a full council meeting revealed that acting Director of Housing Retired Major Mathew Marara and Acting Town Clerk Mrs Josephine Ncube had reached a consensus to sell the residential stand measuring 6573 at a reduced rate.
The selling price for the stand had been pegged at US$80 000 plus US$12 000 Value Added Tax (VAT) which then amounted to a total of US$92 000 before the concessional rate was included. The minister was then supposed to pay a total of US$55 200 inclusive VAT of US$7 200 after deductions.
The bid to sell the stand to Harare Metropolitan Province Minister at concessional rate was upon recognition of the roles of the Minister in translating City Council policies into the regional context and the authority to ensure sustainable development, the minutes revealed.
Ward 34 Cllr for Mufakose Moffat Alisen disputed the idea citing that she (Chikukwa) as a Minister was getting other benefits from government.
“It is a good idea for City of Harare (CoH) to be giving a stand to the minister but instead of selling the land to her at a concessional rate the minister should rather pay us a double price because council is bleeding”, Alisen said.
Zanu-PF Cllrs argued for but in vain as their objection were overruled. They accused MDC-T Cllrs for sabotaging a Zanu-PF minister.
It also emerged that selling the Glen Lorne stand to the Minister at the 40% concessional rate would cause alarm among legislators whom they say would demand such favours.
A Councilor coming in office for the first time gets a stand at 40% concessional rate, Chairperson of the Housing Committee Cllr Resias Masunda said in a separate interview.
“I see there was nothing wrong for the Minister to have get the stand at reduced price just like city fathers”, Cllr Masunda said.
Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni later concluded that City of Harare was going to sell the stand to Minister Chikukwa but without the concessional rate.
City of Harare has a backlog of employee salaries which some city fathers has blamed the central government for scrapping off residents’ debts ahead of the elections in 2013.